Why Are Some Qatar Airways Planes Green?

Qatar Airways offers among the best regional first class products in the world. Many of their regional flights are operated by 787s and 777s, which the airline otherwise uses for longhaul flights. But even their shorthaul configured aircraft largely feature flat beds, like their A320s.

Qatar-Airways-A320-First-Class - 1
Qatar Airways A320 regional first class

Where else in the world do you get a flat bed, your choice of hot or cold towel, pre-departure champagne, a meal, and even a made to order espresso drink on a 30 minute flight?!

Qatar-Shorthaul-5

However, there’s some inconsistency in Qatar’s regional product. Many of their regional aircraft still feature the old product, which simply consists of recliner seats — those are still perfectly nice for a 30 minute flight.

Qatar-Airways-A320-Business-Class

But the real surprise might come if you’re flying Qatar Airways regionally and end up on a plane which isn’t technically part of the Qatar Airways fleet. Let me explain.

There’s a new airline launching in Saudi Arabia, called Al Maha Airways.

Al-Maha-Airways

So far they have a fleet of eight A320 aircraft. If you look at their planes, you may notice that their branding is remarkably similar to Qatar Airways’.

Al-Maha-Airways-A320

That’s because Al Maha Airways is a wholly owned subsidiary of Qatar Airways.

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While Al Maha plans on launching routes within Saudi Arabia, there’s only one small problem — they’re not licensed to fly yet. The airline was supposed to launch in 2014, though that has been pushed back due to licensing issues. Now Al Maha expects to launch in the summer of 2016, though we’ll see if that even happens.

Regardless, in the meantime Qatar Airways is using Al Maha A320 aircraft for their flights, since they’d otherwise be sitting around. The service, crews, etc., are all from Qatar Airways. The only difference will be the cabin. These planes are pretty bare bones, as they have 12 recliner business class seats without entertainment.

So if you’re flying on a Qatar Airways plane and think it looks a bit unfamiliar, now you know why…

Has anyone flown one of these Al Maha Airways planes on a Qatar Airways route?

Comments

  1. I took one DOH-AUH in F a few weeks back. Very simple hard product but for a 35 min flight I’m not complaining. Was confused re: the branding at front of cabin and asked a crew member. Even she had difficulty explaining the nature of the QR/Maha relationship. Soft product was as good as ever. We had to sit on the tarmac at AUH waiting for a gate since fog had payed havoc with schedules, ahd the entire F cabin had a long friendly stand up chat with crew – they really do seem to enjoy what they do.

  2. I flew on one of them in Jan to AUH …the crew said it was green for “promotional” reasons. I have to say the crew were amazing, both engaged and friendly. They performed a full drinks service, meal service and duty free in less than 40 minutes

  3. Took one DOH-AUH two weeks ago. Was pretty confused about the green livery. Also no IFE in Y which was disappointing bc I wanted to finish the movie I was watching on my way into DOH a few nights ago!

  4. Flew AL Maha from Bahrain to Qatar this morning. Pleasant 35 minute flight, the cabin crew served orange juice in economy class. Comfortable no frills flight.

  5. What champagne does Qatar serve in business on usa to doh?

    What champagne does Qatar serve in AL mourjan?

  6. We get the Al Maha A320s almost always on the DOH-RKT route and actually prefer them as all the aircraft are equipped with Wifi (which the entire mainline fleet is not).

  7. I have flown DOH-AUH and DOH-SLL-DOH on Al Maha aircraft in business class. As mentioned, no IFE but both fairly short flights and perfectly acceptable.

  8. While I was relaxed in Falcon Gold Lounge in BAH (waiting for my Gulf Air flight to Cairo in biz), I watched AL MAHA’s landing and take off. Different color, Beautiful !

  9. I am a Platinum member with Qatar Airways.
    Indeed, it seems strange that the staff are not briefed about the Al Maha fleet.
    These planes are used on the DOH-DWC route all the time. My beef with the airline is that I have paid good money for a Qatar Airways plane and seating space. The Al Maha flights are a low-cost domestic fleet for the Saudi Market. As such, there is less space between rows. The fact that these planes are not yet licensed in Saudi is do to an external political force that QR has no control over. You may have read that for over a year, Saudi and Qatar were not the best of friends which most likely slowed the licencing to a glacial pace. Since Qatar Airways bought the planes, they needed to use them, so the short haul routes got stuck with them until they go on to the market they were intended for.

  10. I was in Doha recently and think I saw a Qatar livery 747 – any idea what that is? I didn’t think they had 747s?

  11. The crew might like it now, but can you imagine how horrible it will be to work only inter-Saudi Arabian flights? Especially as a woman? *shudder*.

  12. Flew from Kuwait to Doha on ALMaha. I was surprised to see the aircraft and the interior is very basic. Looks like it’s being used for regional Gulf flights.

  13. Saw lots of them on the tarmac in Doha on Wednesday. Flew in from Muscat on a recliner-configured A320 and the inflight service was much better than on the A350 to JFK later that night, although the A350 hard product was excellent and the machine incredibly quiet.

  14. Flew Al Maha dwc to doh and everything ok. Now i learn why the green aircraft are being used by qatar and have no problem with them and can only say nice flight, very short though. Live in UAE and first time use qatar and will for sure use again, seems better than other gulf carriers.

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